Monday, August 6, 2018

Summary Judgment Granted in Monroe County Under Hills and Ridges Doctrine


In the case of Bless v. Pocono Mountain Recovery Center, LLC., No. 8167 - CV - 2016(C.P. Monroe Co. May 17, 2018 Zulick, J.), Judge Arthur L. Zulick, of the Monroe County Court of Common Pleas granted the Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment based upon the hills and ridges doctrine in a case where the record contained evidence of a recent snowfall which caused slippery conditions. 

According to the Opinion, at the time of the accident, the Plaintiff’s husband was coming to visit her at the Defendants' premises.  When the Plaintiff saw that her husband's vehicle became stuck in the ice and snow on the roadway leading up to the location, the Plaintiff began to walk towards her husband and, while doing so, slipped and fell.

The Plaintiffs attempted to avoid the summary judgment by arguing that the hills and ridges doctrine was inapplicable because conditions were not generally icy in the area at the time of the incident and that the accumulation on the road was allegedly not natural.  

Judge Arthur L. Zulick
Monroe County

After reviewing the current status of the hills and ridges doctrine law, Judge Zulick reviewed the record before him and found no evidence of any unreasonable accumulations of snow or ice such that any ridges or elevations had formed.  

The court also noted that the record confirmed that the Plaintiff knew that the road was hazardous before she stepped on to it because she had seen her husband’s car slide backwards down the roadway on the hill.  

The court also noted that, although the Plaintiffs argued that there was insufficient evidence of generally slippery conditions prevailing in the area that day, both Plaintiffs had testified that there had indeed been a recent snow fall.  

Based upon the record before the court, summary judgment was granted under the hills and ridges doctrine.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

Source:  “Digest of Recent Opinions” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (June 5, 2018).  

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